Entrepreneurs in Egypt: Shereen Salah
Young entrepreneurs in Egypt are part of a new wave of self-employment sweeping the nation, and Mostafa Shahat writes about them.
Entrepreneurship is flexible, meant to be integrated with other fields, like engineering, commerce and even medicine. Employees with full-times job run their start-ups after working hours, which gives an indication of how entrepreneurship affects the Egyptian community not just economically but socially.
In the 80s and 90s, people used to start business by working in their field of expertise for a while, building connections in the market, and then starting their own companies. They were always pure businesses without a mission to develop the community in any way.
Now, we see companies that have visions for society. They not only generate revenue but also support society – not just with charities but with development programmes, from using funding campaigns to raise communities’ awareness of certain issues to organising career development trainings for young people to conducting entrepreneurship support systems.
Shereen Salah studied at the Faculty of Medicine of Ain Shams University in 2000, and worked as a teacher’s assistant until 2005. Shereen also started her first company, called Jazmed, in 2003. Jazmed imported medical equipment and laboratory supplies from almost 7 countries in South America, Asia and Europe for nine years.
‘We used to import products that are durable, user friendly, safe and effective’ says Shereen. ‘It was a business that I have experience in, and I didn’t have a vision of how to help the community through my company at that time’.
In 2009, Shereen was accepted to join the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Leadership, or WEL, at the American University in Cairo, where she studied entrepreneurship and other business topics for four months. In 2012, she obtained her MBA from ESLSCA business school in Egypt, specialising in marketing.
‘Due to the economical and political challenges, we ended up closing Jazmed’, says Shereen.
Shereen still has a passion for entrepreneurship. Previously, she paid for kitchen owners to provide meals for Shereen’s family on a daily basis. so when Shereen decided to close Jazmed, she had an idea for a platform where talented kitchen owners can upload their menus and sell meals to families and women who don’t have time to cook wholesome food on a daily basis.
So Shereen founded Akla Baity, which means ‘Meals Home’ in English. She has involved many talented kitchen owners and gets more than 6,000 visitors per day.
‘We connect the kitchen owners with their customers who are living close to them, and that’s one of Akla Baity strengths. That’s why the food is usually fresh’, says Shereen.
Shereen is still developing Akla Baity with her team, and she has attended several pitching competitions in Dubai where she has pitched her business and got feedback.
‘These pitching competitions have helped me to figure out my business’s weaknesses, and how to improve it’, says Shereen.
Article submitted by Mostafa Shahat, the volunteer responsible for Arabic guest bloggers in the MENA region and an entrepreneur who has established one of the most successful youth communities in Egypt, Goal Oriented Learners. Mostafa studied social entrepreneurship in USA and is currently the Middle East & North Africa representative at StudySearch (Nigeria) and the Egypt representative for All Events in City (India). Mostafa is also a reporter at Nudge Sustainability Hub. Email him at [email protected] and check out his other blog A Syrian’s Success in Egypt and more from his Entrepreneurs in Egypt series.
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